Teach and Travel with a Non-Profit in Austria
80% Rating
(29 Reviews)

Teach and Travel with a Non-Profit in Austria

A perfect post-grad or gap-year opportunity for those seeking to gain professional development and qualifications while making a difference in the lives of children - Apply today!

Teach and travel in Austria with a non-profit while earning an internationally recognised TEFL qualifications! As a Student Teacher on our TEFL Program (including the TEFL-YL, Trinity CertTESOL and Cambridge CELT-P), you travel with your teaching practice group while learning to teach English to young learners. Student Teachers spend more than 300 hours in the classroom helping children learn English in fun and engaging lessons.

Successful candidates will receive shared accommodation, basic food vouchers, teaching materials and transportation to and from schools. Welfare staff is there to support Student Teachers throughout their time in beautiful Austria.

Our Job Placement Program offers Student Teacher with CV assistance resources for finding and applying to TEFL positions around the globe.

Highlights
  • Teach and travel in one of the safest and most scenic countries in Europe!
  • FREE accommodation, a basic food allowance and program related travel.
  • Over 300 hours of classroom teaching experience including 29 observed hours.
  • One-on-one mentoring and support from qualified Course Tutors and experienced Senior Teachers.
  • Make a difference completing your teaching practice with a non-profit initiative aimed at spreading education and cultural awareness.
Locations
Europe » Austria » Vienna
Europe » Austria » Graz
Europe » Austria » Linz
Teaching Practicum
Yes
Weekly Classroom Hours
29
Training Type
Classroom
Training Length
800hours
Job Placement
Yes
Certifications
CELTA
TESOL (Trinity)
Accommodation
Apartment
Inclusions
Accommodation
Meals
Transportation
Wifi
Exclusions
Airfare
Airport Transfers
Age Min.
18
Application Fee
$0.00
Deposit
$75.00
Starting Price
$105.00
Currency
EUR
Price Details
€105 Membership Fee (Austrian non-profit ZVR: 249983245)
Other Locations
Vorchdorf

Questions & Answers

The skills learnt on this course are many and varied and will definitely be used in any classroom interaction in the future. As well as learning practical, classroom skills for teaching English, general classroom management and learner support, you'll learn a range of transferable skills that will support your personal and professional development out of the classroom.

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    83%
  • Support
    81%
  • Fun
    83%
  • Facilities
    90%
  • Safety
    83%
  • Instruction
    70%
  • Support
    67%
  • Value
    73%
  • Difficulty
    90%
  • Job Assistance
    78%

Program Reviews (29)

Default avatar
Becka
Female
24 years old
Wolfsberg
University of Strathclyde

Too good to be true?

3/10

I wish to start by saying that before I applied I tried to do as much research as I could about the college before applying. I looked at the reviews I watched the youtube videos and thought this must be too good to be true. Turns out it was.

Reviews
If you google 'The English Teacher Training College' or 'ABCi' you'll find blogs and forums with more honest feedback.

Cert TESOL
The main reason I applied was due to the low cost and the chance to get the Cert TESOL qualification. The reality is that the training for this qualification is left on the back burner and there are hardly any training sessions on teaching methodologies, language awareness, and other aspects. Although I have managed to pass my assignments I am still coming away feeling disappointed and that I haven't really earned the Cert TESOL. Comments have been made by the moderator from Trinity that the course is currently not to standard due to the complete lack of adult teaching that is involved. Be prepared that all your assignments, exams and portfolios will all be due at once at the very end of your course.

ABCi
On a daily basis you will be expected to travel to school with a senior-teacher and teach the ABCi programme to either Volksschule (primary) or NMS (secondary) school children. The programme is very repetitive and mainly consists of playing games whilst you talk English and try get them to respond to you. As such I feel we increase the confidence of the students but no actual new teaching is provided to them.

Living Conditions
There are currently 3 campuses (Vorchdorf, Pressbaum and Wolfsberg). I spent the first 4 weeks in Pressbaum before changing over to Wolfsberg. Pressbaum is in a great location due to its proximity to Vienna. However, the girls are living inside a boarding school with only a tiny fridge and a microwave. I found myself attempting to cook eggs and pasta in the microwave and using the kettle to make couscous - 4 weeks dragged on. The boys live in a shared small flat, also next to the school. When I was there the flat was infested with ants with 1 kitchen and 1 washing machine between upto 20+ student teachers.
I spent the rest of my time in 'Wolfsberg' the closest town. The campus is actually located in a remote village called Frantschach St Getraud. The village has one shop that is very expensive and you would not be able to get all of your groceries from there. The house sits opposite a giant paper factory so please expect a lot of noise and pollution. It smells a lot too. Due to its location you are about a 50min walk to the nearest town of Wolfsberg where there are more shops, bars and restaurants. To get anywhere else it is very costly on the bus even with the discount OBB card.

Staff
Currently there is very little standardisation across the campuses or across different members of staff. Senior teachers with have different sets of expectations for different student teachers. There is a lot of talk about professionalism. Most of the staff are anything but. There has been several circumstances that have been considered questionable and inappropriate and when discussed with senior management they don't appear to take it seriously. There are many instances of favouritism, senior teachers will give special treatment to those they like and partially victimise others.

Free time
After transferring to Wolfsberg we found out that there was a campus car that has been made available to student teachers who volunteer to drive. During the weekends the group made several road trips to Venice, Trieste, Hallstatt, Lake Bled, Ljubljana and Klagenfurt. Having the car has been a huge highlight of the trip for me as it made central Europe more accessible and travelling by road was extremely scenic. Whilst living in Pressbaum we were able to take the bus to Budapest for the weekend.

To summarise you will get your Cert TESOL but the chances are you will be living unhappily and overworked. Had it not been for the support of fellow student teachers going through the same situation I would've considered quitting. A fate many others did choose. If you are in the position to do so I would do this course elsewhere, although the course appears to be value for money you will spend far more than you would expect to on food and excursions. If you do decide to come on the course the more organised you can be the better, get to know your colleagues and try and enjoy it. :)

How can this program be improved?

The programme and organisation of the Cert TESOL component needs completely reworked. Too many weeks are focused on teaching the ABCi programme in schools when training sessions on Cert TESOL and language awareness could be given.
It took months to get marks back for the first assignment which led to backlog of marking the subsequent assignments. This meant people were resubmitting assignments for moderation the day before.

Default avatar
Jonathon
Male
26 years old
Graz
Swinburne University of Technology

A true test of willpower and perseverance

7/10

I have actually completed 2 course with ABCi, the first back in 2014; with not teaching experience and the second; with 4 months of teaching in Austria. The first course that I did was very light on the amount of preparation needed to teach in schools. The program is already designed with a guide that you take into class with you, each school you teach at is the same program(this is great for improving your confidence and fluency of instruction giving). After teaching for 6 lessons at school, we would drive back and have a debrief session about the day and any issues that came up. Then we would have small inputs for an hour or so every Thursday to cover some grammar and technical language. This was the first course: Fun, Easy and a great learning experience.

My second time was in 2016 and it was very different. In the years that I had been absent many of the staff members had left and the company had grown a lot, both in a good way and a bad. Let´s talk about the good first: The first course I was in a group of 4(myself and 3 girls), this meant that although I did get along with them, we were never super chummy. However, for this course living in a house with 15-20 other awesome people, all eager to learn, teach and to party. This was much better. Although living with so many people was a little bit of a chance from my normal habitations, it was nothing that I hadn´t experienced before. After spending over 2 years travelling to over 60 countries, I have spent a fair amount of time in communal housing and even many a night sleeping on a beach or out in the forest. For me, 20 new friends was a great way to improve my teaching abilities. As well and the close bonds that I made, the inputs that we had(although still rather dry) were much more informative and forced me to research and take personal initiative to improve to keep up with the workload. This did take a toll on my heath and sucked a lot of time out of my fitness schedule(the drinking didn´t help either), however in the end it left me with 100% confidence of walking into a classroom of students and teaching a lesson without any fears. I had the opportunity to live in 3 different regions of Austria, a country with unquestionable beauty. To this day, as I drive around, I am still awestruck every time I drive past through Salzkammergut or through the Alps.

Let´s get to the bad then: I´ll make this simple and just use dot points
-THIS IS NOT A FULL TIME HOLIDAY! Yes, you do have time off in the evening and weekends, however it is mostly taken up by preparation and planning. However, almost every weekend we were throwing house parties with the locals, watching the World Cup and playing football in the park.
-The growth of the organisation has meant that a lot of new staff come and go quite quickly. However, this is not all due to ABCi and the work. Austria is also a very expensive country to settle.
-The lack of appreciation that you get for teaching. This is a big one. After teaching for 6 hours and then having inputs in the afternoon. All you need is a couple of beers and a pat on the back. Then it´s all worth it. Come on ABCi, fork out a couple more bevs and the teachers will stick around a bit longer.
-Cleanliness at the accommodations. This was pretty bad at some times, however I think half of the fault were the British that really can´t look after themselves. Mum isn´t going to clean up after you, mate.

Overall, I enjoyed my time on the 2 course. Both very different. I would recommend this anyone wanting to gain experience and test what it would be like to teach. If you like it, stick around, if not, just leave. Easy.

Now to the present:
I am currently working for ABCi and have been for a year now. The difference in being a Student Teacher and being an employee are immense. For one, Austria is much more comfortable to live in when you are earning money. Hello good beer :) I spend my day driving around the country reaching out to schools to book projects, part of this meant learning more German(which I have greatly improved), this also means seeing some amazing sight and of course meeting lots of Austrian teachers that are incredibly friendly and teaching Austrian students that are so eager and amazed to interact with an Australian.

How can this program be improved?

-Less teaching per week for teachers.
-Better planning for projects, prior to the week or day.
-Prizes and awards for Student Teacher that go above and beyond to deliver top notch lessons.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Jonathon,
thank you for your honest feedback about your experiences with ABCi. We agree that the programs appeal most to open-minded, down-to-earth people like yourself with the "you get out what you put in" mentality!

Default avatar
John
Male
22 years old
Australia
University of Melbourne

A great way to become a teacher

10/10

My friends and family are still a bit surprised by my sudden decision to go into teaching and even more surprised that I seem to be good at it! A great program that taught me to be an effective teacher in a few months. I came into it with a liberal arts degree and no background in teaching. I had never taught at all before, and I have found that I love it, it is my calling! The great part about what ABCi does and what really sets it apart from others is the large amount of assessed and unassessed teaching practice that you get. You are teaching in real classrooms in state schools alongside experienced teachers and teacher trainers. The classroom experience each morning is supplemented by theoretical training in the afternoon. In general, these match up pretty well so that you can apply what you learn each afternoon in subsequent morning sessions. They tell you in advance that the course is intense and that the days are long, and it's true: you leave most mornings between 6am and 6:30am and the theory inputs end most days at 4:30. It sort of feels like a boot camp for teachers because even when you get back to the apartments, you're generally doing lesson planning with each other and discussing the teaching that you did that day and will do tomorrow. But that's a good thing! I think it's safe to say that I learned nearly as much from my peers in the evening as I did from the course tutors on the course during the day. Ultimately, it is really is the sort of thing where you get out of it what you put into it. If you go into it with unrealistic expectations or a bad attitude, you’re probably not going to enjoy it. If you want to be spoon fed, if think this is the kind of course where you can get drunk and not show up, if you think that you can just show up and be handed a certificate for doing the bare minimum, than save yourself the disapointment and go and do an online course instead. Unless you have a doctor's note, you need to show up each day and do the coursework to get the certfication. I think the other people in your group have a real impact on your experience as well. One thing that I didn't realize at first was that the Welfare team at the college is genuinely willing to help, but you need to speak up and say that something is wrong: some of the stuff that went wrong between individual students, bad blood or whatever, they had no idea about until we told them. In terms of learning by doing, where you really learn a lot is from watching experienced teachers teach, watching your peers teach, and getting feedback from experienced teachers who have watched you teach. The hardest part for me personally was being filmed and watching myself teaching (or micro-teaching) to reflect on my own teaching, but it was a great way to really quickly realize what I could do better. Plus, it's free: they provide a "scholarship" that covers course fees, the apartments, and travel to and from the schools. This thing didn't even exist 6 years ago and now it's a resource for tens of thousands of young Austrians who want to learn English and hundreds of native-speakers who want to become proper English teachers. All so Austrian kids get free English projects and native speakers can free teacher training... What a great idea and a cool thing to be a part of! If you're willing to put in the time and do the work, you will come out the other end a great teacher.

How can this program be improved?

More spacious accommodation in Vorchdorf would be nice. I heard that they were going to build a dorm behind the existing building there in the long term and add another apartment in the short term, so that should take care of that. If someone leaves or fails the course, it can put stress on the other student teachers, so they plan enough teaching practice for the student teachers in advance at the start of the course. That said, admissions have apparently increased the group sizes so that they are adding more student teachers in the future to make-up for anyone who leaves the course. The car rides are long, but they are filled with conversations about grammar and teaching. That said, there was at least one staff member who just turned on the radio and zoned out - it seemed to me that if they were being paid to drive to and from the school that they should be engaging the students in conversation and answering questions at that time as well. Communication was sometimes poor but for a young organization growing so quickly that is understandable: I can see that changes are being made to fix this on future courses.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear John,
thank you for your review of your time with ABCi! I'm glad you got a lot out of it and like I always say about this organisation - "you get out what you put in".
All the best for your future teaching career!

Default avatar
Stevii
Female
23 years old
Colombia
University College London

An overall negative experience

1/10

Let me start our with what was good: the CertTESOL. It is extremely helpful and well-respected, and great for getting a job later. Therefore what you get in the input sessions is very useful material.

The reason I stayed for the whole program is because I'm a fairly stable person, because I made some really great friends there (adversity bonds people very well), and because I had the opportunity to continue improving my German. I didn't realise until just over two months in that I should have quit earlier, but by then I was too close to finishing to quit.

However, there are many ways to get a CertTESOL. This program advertises itself as a scholarship program, but if you take into account 4 months' living costs (reasonable living costs, not the 25 euros a week that they recommend), you will end up spending at least as much money on this course as you would on a normal intensive course that you have to pay for. In addition, you will have a much lower quality of life.

Let's start with the hours. They advertise that a benefit of the longer program is more class hours than a traditional TEFL course. This is true. They advertise that you will get at least 200 hours of teaching experience. I got 350. However, it was 100% not worth it. 200 hours of teaching would have made this program so much more reasonable. Teaching a full school day with no lessons free is not something that normal Austrian teachers do, and they were shocked that we had to do it. Having to plan and implement lessons for students that you've never met before is not something that any CertTESOL program is supposed to do, and Trinity College was shocked that we had to do it. Waking up as early as 4am (the average was around 5 or 5:30, contrary to what they tell you) to get in the car and not finishing input sessions until after 5pm, sometimes without even time for lunch is just ridiculous.

If you are applying for this program, I'm sure you already know about the long hours. The real issue comes in with the complete lack of understanding from staff. They expected us to be fully present and participating in these input sessions as if we weren't completely exhausted, and some of the staff led these input sessions in such a condescending way that it was completely unbearable and I had to leave the room. They also consistently refused to acknowledge the fact that we were teachers. We did all of the teaching for them, and they present us as teachers to the Austrian schools (most of whom are under the impression that we are being paid, mind you, apart from one teacher I met who actually knew the leadership staff and made sure that we were treated extra well at her school to try and make up for our experience at the office), but outside of the schools, we were treated as useless, replaceable volunteers.

The place where you are treated the worst is undoubtedly Vorchdorf, so if you do end up deciding to go here, avoid it at all costs. My group was there at the beginning and the end of the program, and I burst out crying and had a breakdown during the input session the day before we had to go back because I just could not handle the staff there.

The standard of living on this program is miserable. The accomodation is crowded, dirty, and completely neglected by staff. When the refrigerator and oven broke, it took them weeks to replace the refrigerator and the oven was never replaced. When the toilet was overflowing, they refused to hire a plumber and instead forced one of the course tutors to take care of it after a very long period of complaining.

A lot of what you see about this program online is false advertising. You will have almost no time for traveling, because you will be too exhausted to do anything other than sleep and eat during your free time on weekdays. There are no bicycles, you will only see most of Austria through a car window (and you might even sleep through it, if you're lucky), you will 100% be spending much more than 25 euros a week even if you're thrifty.

Towards the end of my experience there, I had the pleasure of seeing one of the emails that was sent to the admissions staff, stating regulations for specific phrases they need to use in order to make this program seem more appealing, because they were having a lot of problems with recruitment due to bad reviews, a lot of staff quitting, etc. This is really representative of the organisation as a whole. All they want is for the Austrian government, schools, and potential staff and student teachers to see them as a great organisation, when on the inside it is one of the most miserable places that I have ever had the displeasure of working at (SORRY, I meant "student teaching practice").

Please be aware that A LOT (not all, but a lot) of the positive reviews here were forcibly written by staff because ABCi is extremely concerned about the negative reviews it gets from student teachers. I am still in contact with people who have been staff there until recently, and nothing discernable has changed.

How did I survive 4 months here? Friends and wine. One of the ways we expressed our frustration was through song, and I think this is a good way to end the review:

5 to 5 chorus (to the tune of 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton)
Workin' 5 to 5
What a way to make no money
Bein' treated like
We don't know s**t, it ain't funny
We just lose our minds
And they never give us credit
It's enough to make you crazy if you let it!

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Stevii,

We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience during your time here. We can assure you that the staff here care about the Student Teachers’ well-being. The Student Teachers on your intake had quite a full teaching schedule due to the large number of Austrian schools who had booked English projects with our Bilingual Classroom Initiative. It is completely understandable to find the full days of teaching to be very taxing. The schedule has been amended so that Student Teachers are spending less time in the classroom and are given free periods and Professional Development Days in order to prepare lesson plans and catch up on assignments.

The College is apologetic concerning course staff who were perceived as condescending. Of course this was never the intention of any staff member. The course staff model classroom teaching in the input sessions in order to give the Student Teachers additional practical teaching examples. We understand that there were also negative feedback regarding a second name policy that was enforced during the particular course. This was enforced due to feedback from a previous course, but has also been amended due to more recent feedback. The College is always willing to take on input from Student Teachers, and we encourage Student Teachers to let us know if they are feeling uneasy with any aspect of the program.

As for the accommodation, they are rented properties and we apologize if issues were not responded to immediately by the landlord. The College has ameliorated this by employing our own Facility Coordinators who are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Student Teacher accommodation. We have supplied bikes to the Wolfsberg campus, while the other campuses are in short walking distance from train and bus stations. Other equipment such as grills and benches have been delivered to all campuses. Evenings, weekends and public holidays are free. It is possible that a heavy teaching schedule and a lack of public holidays during the duration of your program could have led to less time to travel. Regarding the amount of additional funds is reasonable to budget for in addition to the food allowance, we will definitely be collecting input from our Student Teachers and amending our recommendations accordingly.

One thing we have to take issue with is that “A LOT (not all, but a lot) of the positive reviews here were forcibly written by staff”. We can assure you that not a single one of the reviews, positive or negative, on this page was written by someone who was a member of staff at the time of writing. Some of them (for full disclosure Toby, John, Danny, Michael, Emmet) came to work with ABCi after they were on the program, and after they had written their positive review. This is precisely because they did have a great time on the course and wanted to continue their time here, and of course try to improve things for future generations, as we always try to do.

We know it will be of little comfort to you now, but we are always trying to improve the experience our Student Teacher have and we appreciate the time you took to provide us with the critical feedback. We will be taking it on board. We apologize for any aspect of the program which was not to the standard you expected and we hope you can understand that as a non-profit, the staff are doing their best to provide the best experience for Student Teachers. There would be no point working for a non-profit, 1000s of miles away from most of our homes, if we did not.

Default avatar
Shannon

The Call to Adventure

9/10

When I applied to the winter 2017 CertTESOL course, the word ‘adventure’ was appropriate for my overall feelings of what lay ahead. Looking back, my experiences reflect Joseph Campbell’s concepts of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ and the ‘Call to Adventure’. In essence this refers to when a person, living their normal life, suddenly receive an invitation or information which acts as a call to head into the unknown. To offer some perspective, I graduated in July 2016 with a BA (Hons) degree in History from Queen’s University Belfast. Like many graduates, I was stuck in this awkward limbo, unsure where the next chapter of my life would unfold. Looking back on it now, the day I stumbled upon the English Teacher Training College and their CertTESOL course on the Guardian jobs website was a blessing. This was my ‘Call to Adventure’.

Prior to beginning the course I had limited teaching experience. As a result of this, it is fair to say that when I first entered an Austrian classroom, I was a bag of nerves. Unlike other TEFL organisations, one of the key benefits of the CertTESOL course offered by the College is the sheer degree of classroom experience you gain during the four month course. By April 2017 I had taught in fifteen different Austrian schools, and acquired 316 hours of teaching experience. To put it simply, you will be a teacher by the end of this course, and you will have the credentials to back this up. Whilst progressing through the course, the feeling of fear when entering a new classroom on a Monday morning had gradually subsided to a feeling of excitement and anticipation, as my confidence in the classroom increased. One of my favourite aspects of teaching was building rapport with my students. If I’ve learned anything from Austrian students, they love three things; bottle flips, selfies, and pink fluffy unicorns. If you have done the course, you know what I mean.

The course is challenging. It is intense. However, from my perspective, the intensity of both teaching in the classroom alongside working towards the CertTESOL qualification only helped to develop my character as both a person and a teacher. When you are waking up at 5am in the morning, travelling to schools, teaching, returning to campus for input sessions, and then working on lessons plans and assignments, you have to grow certain character virtues. Perseverance, discipline, creativity, courage, and leadership are just a few of the personal characteristics I enhanced thanks to my time in Austria.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed my time in Austria, and successfully completed the course is thanks to the people I met along the journey. Whether it was my fellow student-teachers, course tutors, or specific people working within the English Teacher Training College itself, they all had a positive impact on my time in Austria, helping me along the way. Although it sounds cheesy, the people you will meet during your time in Austria will become like a big extended family. Moreover, although a lot of work is involved, I was also fortunate enough to travel to various cities and places throughout Austria and even Germany in my free time. I visited Hallstatt, Salzburg, Gmunden, Passau, and Vienna, to name a few.

On your time in the course you will be split between two campuses; either Vorchdorf in Upper Austria or Pressbaum in the outskirts of Vienna. If you are on the course I would encourage you to complete your assignments as soon as you can, or at least take an hour out of your day each day to work on completing assignments, rather than rushing at the last minute. I would recommend bringing between 800-1000 euro for living expenses, like food and travel. Honestly you could survive on a lot less, it just depends on how much you would be willing to spend. For a weekly shop, I got by on 25-30 euros. Also if you are travelling in Austria I highly recommend you get an OBB card. It costs 19 euro, however it reduces train prices by 45%. It is a valuable investment. Knowing German isn't a pre-requisite of the course, but I would encourage you to learn or pick up bits and pieces during your time in Austria, even if it just simple greetings. Near the Pressbaum campus, there is a local Cafe called Cafe Corso. I highly recommend going there. The prices are decent and they do really good hot chocolate and cake. In terms of shops, in Vorchdorf you have an ample supply; including Hofer (Aldi), Lidl, Spar, dm (Like Boots in the UK), and Libro. In Pressbaum, your closest shop is Hofer, and there is also Lidl and a dm, which are about a 15 minute walk away from Hofer. The weather throughout January and February, for the most part, was very, very cold. In January it could get low as -10 degrees. However by March- April, the weather improved drastically. It got as high as 25 degrees.

Overall, I would say just have fun with your time in Austria. Yes, it is challenging and intense, but embrace the struggle, embrace being thrown out of your comfort zone. It is a truly unique experience. When you finish the course, you'll come out of it a stronger person. My time in Austria is something I'll never regret. The people I met, the places I saw, and the memories I made will be something I'll always cherish. It may sound cliched, but a piece of my heart will always remain in Austria. To those thinking about applying; take a leap of faith and trust yourself. Show courage. Accept the 'Call to Adventure'. You won't regret it.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Shannon,
thanks for your honest review of your time on the program, and your lovely photos!
All the best for your next steps in your international career!

Default avatar
Travis
Male
27 years old
Virginia
College of William and Mary

Challenging and Rewarding

8/10

My experience at ABCi was challenging but overall it was worth it because I got to see what it felt like to be a teacher and now I have a valued certification. If you are considering a career in education this course is a good way to see how you feel leading a class. You can gain student teaching practice and receive observations/feedback without committing to a graduate program.

That being said, volunteering at ABCi is very much like working a full-time job. I often felt exhausted at the end of a day of driving, teaching and attending an input session. If you are an organized and hardworking person, then this course is manageable. If you are anything other than that, then this course will not be easy. There is a high volume of written assignments outside of teaching and preparing lesson plans. Our teaching portfolios were about 2 inches thick of double sided paper once we finished the course. As a longtime procrastinator I recognized early on that I needed to become better at managing my time. Having done so, I was able to enjoy weekend train trips into the surrounding areas and neighboring countries.

Now that I've completed the course I feel very employable in the ESL job market. I learned how to make lesson plans and gained roughly 350 hours of classroom teaching experience. Many people in the program had lined up jobs all over the world before the course was finished. My confidence as a teacher grew exponentially. I worked and lived with a fun and multicultural group of people.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Travis,
thanks for taking the time to leave an honest review of your time with ABCi (I know it must have been hard for "a longtime procrastinator"!)
All the best for your future teaching adventures!

Default avatar
Hayley
Female
28 years old
Otley, West Yorkshire

Hard graft but a highly valuable and practical experience

8/10

I completed the college's CELT-P course in Autumn 2016 and have returned for the Winter 2017 CertTESOL course. Whilst the workload was somewhat excessive on the CELT-P course, there were also many advantages to studying and gaining teaching practice with ABCi and the English Teacher Training College.

One of the best things about the courses is that they provide you with plenty of practical teaching experience in a wide variety of schools throughout the country. The teaching practice combines the delivery of a set programme with the implementation of your own lesson ideas. This aspect of the course was excellent as you become familiar with many tried and tested activities and language games which can be easily adapted and used in different situations.

Teaching the programme also allows you to really focus on your delivery in the classroom and improve on things like behaviour management techniques. Although I had done a PGCE and had worked as a language teacher for several years before beginning the course, it was a real eye-opener for me as I had chance to observe my peers and course tutors on a regular basis. This exposed me to different teaching styles and techniques and the support and feedback from course tutors was very helpful indeed. They gave me some great ideas about how to improve my own teaching methods and encouraged me to be more creative and adventurous in my lesson planning.

As far as I know, these advantages are unique to the college as most other CertTESOL or CELT-P courses will not provide as much teaching practice or as many opportunities to observe and be observed by experienced teachers. At the end of the day, I decided to return to the college because I really enjoyed teaching their programme, I felt that there was a lot of support from the course tutors and I knew that there was so much more to be learned from them by completing a second course. It is also a great deal financially as you gain an internationally recognised teaching qualification free of charge whilst living in some really beautiful places in Austria.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

We thank you for your kind words, Hayley!

Default avatar
Grace
Female
22 years old
Glasgow

Intense but so worth it.

8/10

There are a lot of mixed reviews of ABCi but my experience was very positive.

I have never worked so hard in my life: I spent 4 months waking up between 4.30 and 5.30am to work at schools that could be up to a 1 hour and 45 minute drive, teach for 6 hours, then return to do 2-3 hour training sessions. As well as teaching I had to study and do assignments as I was completing the CERT-TESOL (which is a very good certificate to have in the ESL world) so I didn't have much free time throughout my time spent in Austria. But, with the time I did get off, I had the chance to visit different places in Austria as well as Hungary and Germany a couple of times!

This course is not a holiday. It is hard work but rewarding work. I taught students aged 6-19 in 18 weeks of teaching and I also gave one-on-one adult lessons. The adult lessons were pretty unorganised which was unfortunate but it was good experience nonetheless.

Although this course is a lot of hard work, the support I was given from my senior teachers was incredible. They would give me all the support I needed, answer any silly question I had and most importantly, made the long days fun. This course relies on the support you all give each other (between trainees, senior teachers and staff). As it is so intense, it really is so important to be a positive and optimistic person. In all honesty, I don't think my group of trainees would have completed the course successfully if it wasn't for the support and encouragement we gave each other. Although you are completing this course to become a qualified ESL teacher yourself, you have to be a team player. Working together and sharing ideas is what is needed to be successful.

Living situation- It is like living in first year halls/dorms all over again. Lack of privacy, shared rooms (up to 4/5 people in a room) and shared bathrooms. Although the accommodation doesn't give you any privacy, it is actually really nice. They are modern and there are large kitchens/ living rooms to chill out in. ABCi provides basic food (pasta, pasta sauce, rice, etc) which is a big help. The most important thing is to be flexible. Sometimes you would be relocated to a different town/city with very little notice. Although this can be very frustrating, you just have to take the positives from it- it's a new place, different schools, working with a new senior teacher who will give you more tips, etc.

During my time with ABCi, there was a lot of stress but also a lot of laughter. I would definitely recommend this course if you are looking to become and ESL teacher as it gives you so much experience in such a short amount of time and getting this training in such a beautiful country with lovely students is obviously such a great bonus. You just have to be ready to work and to be committed for the whole time you are there.

How can this program be improved?

More organisation, assignments spaced out better, more privacy in accommodation.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Grace,
thank you for your review of your time at ABCi.
"you have to be a team player. Working together and sharing ideas is what is needed to be successful." - this is true in life in general but I agree that here it is the key to success.
We wish you all the best for your future adventures in TEFL!

Default avatar
Maria
Male
20 years old
England
University of Central Lancashire

A very rewarding and valuable experience

10/10

As someone with 6 months experience teaching in China I was very keen to finally experience teaching in Europe - and when I saw the advertisement for ABCi I thought that this would be a great route for me to go down. ABCi offered me a Trinity Cert TESOL qualification in return for my time - so I got an internationally recognised language teaching qualification for free AND 3 months teaching experience in Austria on top of that - a great addition to my CV. Another great advantage was the variety of experience: a different school each week provided me with the opportunity to teach students from 5/6 years old up to students in their early twenties; and the opportunity to experience small rural schools, huge urban schools and everything between. I could also spend my weekends and down time experiencing many different cities in Austria - from Gmunden, Salzburg, Graz to Vienna. But for me the most valuable part of this experience was helping kids for an NPO. Visiting schools for just one day to provide them with free and fun English lessons and seeing how grateful they were for my time and efforts was incredibly rewarding and important to me. Thank you ABCi for giving me this fantastic opportunity!

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Maria,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

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Toby
Male
23 years old
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Appreciate the course for what it is and it is worth its weight in gold.

10/10

I came to ABCI and Austria off the back of finishing an English Literature degree. I was unsure of what I wanted to do and found the chance of moving to a new country for a short while and learning a new skill to be a fascinating prospect. Teaching, was not something that had interested me before or something that I thought I would ever consider. Throughout the course (January 2016) myself and other trainees were put under immense stress both through teaching and completing various assignments that were required for your certification. It was intense to the extreme, at times it seemed no matter how much time you put in to your assignments and lesson planning that it would not be enough. However, through the help of your fellow trainees and staff members you will find that the college has an atmosphere much like a well meaning, although at times; dysfunctional family. Each individual whether trainee or member of staff were always on hand to help with any problem whether small or large. While this doesn't always mean that things run as smoothly as planned (there will be highs and lows to your experience, as in any new place) it is an experience that I would thoroughly recommend providing you are prepared for one of the busiest workloads I have ever experienced.

Austria as a country is beautiful, while not every weekend will be free for you to roam around, you will find yourself with a little time at least to explore, meet new people and enjoy what Austria has to offer. Through ABCI and my experience in Austria I decided that teaching was in fact a career path that I wanted to explore, and now only a short while after completing the course I find myself about to go into my first paid teaching job in Poland, this can only be down to the support and encouragement I found at ABCI.

Although you may read discouraging reviews for ABCI (English training college of Austria) I would advise you to take them with a pinch of salt. Of course there are areas of improvement for the college but at the same time there are also many fantastic aspects to the college and your own experience that you will not find anywhere else (and "mature students" tend to have forgotten their own time at uni and carry somewhat unrealistic expectations of what living like a student in a dorm is really like).

How can this program be improved?

Organisation,
Facilities.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Toby,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

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Daniel
Male
20 years old
Manchester

A real gem of an experience

10/10

09/29/2016
Apologies for the informality of this review but sometimes I think it is best to just hear it how it is.
This review isn't the average, it is aimed towards the 18-20 year olds that don't have a degree and are trying to find themselves.
I was in Austria around this time last year and everything changed from there. I still always talk about it!
Not only that but it gave me a direction..at only the age of 18. Sometimes it takes someone like Mr Stone to tell you to your face that 'you are a natural teacher' to make you think maybe I could do a bit more of this TEFL stuff.

SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE AT ABCI?
It is no walk in the park, especially if you are on the younger side. It is very demanding, long hours and there is a lot of learning involved on the course. You may get into the habbit of comparing yourself to the others, maybe they have a degree in linguistics, German or are just hyper intelligent. My advice to you is just concentrate on yourself, Rome wasn't built in a day and nor is a good teacher.
Something you will learn is you are constantly learning and so are those others in your group, what you will likely find is they will help you one on one if you ask them so don't be afraid.
For example I could never get the parts of speech down I actually failed the test, I was actually the only one. Everyone helped me every night to prepare for the retake and sure enough I passed. Even Ben Stone who could be regarded as the busiest man in the world, Skype called me to go over some of the things that could be on the test for over 40 minutes! Support like this really shows the caring dedication of ABCI and why people 18-20 can also be right for ABCI life.

IS IT FOR EVERYONE
ABCI is hard work you have some very early mornings, long car rides with your flatmates falling asleep on you and you have to feel the pressure of having your lessons assessed. The first week is non stop! Just remember I know you have never been to uni before so you are not used to staying up late and getting a deadline in early the next day. Do the smart thing a work hard first and play hard second, I get its all new and it will be your first time away from home with no rules but be sensible! If you take this into account you will be able to get up the next morning no trouble making life so much easier.
You will also get quite homesick but everyone is friendly and they are there for you, dont forget the senior teachers are people too. If that doesn't work you could always just bring your home to the classroom. For example, I always told classes no matter the age that the classroom was Manchester it helps you get the 'only English' point across and actually helps fight home sickness. I did it all the time at ABCI. I even think it started to annoy some of my group but it definitely helped!

SO WHY ABCI?
You will not find a more character building course any where in the world. Gmundens mountains, Sanct Poltons whisky bar and Graz' Christmas lights are breathtaking
It is a very good deal because you are very highly subsidised and even though they can't pay for you flight there and back, it is because it just isn't practical only once you have done a CertTESOL and got your certificate from ABCi do you have the experience for companies that would be willing to fly you out somewhere to even look at you. Also the people at ABCi will grow you as a person and a teacher. They gradually get you to grow a thick skin and show you how to give constructive criticism. For example, in my very first assessed lesson I actually said to the students 'come in, come in everyone for a..erm....plenary..' much to Ben Stones amusement.
Although, by far the best thing about ABCi is they contiue to check on us even after leaving, asking if there is anything they can do to help. This I think sets ABCi apart from the rest!
I would and have recommended ABCI to people of all ages but I think those of you like myself at 18 who think they know everything, but are not ready for University definitely should try your hand at TEFL teaching you might like it.
If you have any other questions about ABCi I would be glad to answer them.

How can this program be improved?

Just keep going as you are.
Keep responding to reviews and take in to consideration the feed back.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Dear Daniel,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and to wish you the best of luck in your teaching career!

We all hope you are well.

The English Teacher Training College

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Emmet
Male
25 years old
Mohill

A great start to your TEFL career

8/10

I completed the fall course in 2016 and really had a great time. I had thought for a while about entering the world of teaching having previous worked as a lock-keeper, in hospitality and as an engineer. I am so glad I took the plunge.

The best thing about this course for me was the guaranteed teaching practice. This gave me the opportunity to believe, that by the end of the course, I can teach English. I would now have no problem preparing to walk into a classroom full of teenagers or younger kids and teaching them English after 300+ hours practice with C. 200 different children with different needs and levels. On completion of the course I received both the ABCi TEFL Cert which stated my teaching practice hours (great for prospective employers) , and my CERTTESOL from Trinity College London (recognised worldwide). The accommodation provided is very basic ( and free) however with such long hours (6:30-16:30) this was OK for me as I was away most weekend and just liked to relax in the evenings( There is a video tour of the accommodation on YouTube). Wifi was provided which I found to be quite good ( it did go down for 2 days but once the college was informed it was fixed straight away) and also the monthly food shop of essentials was also very good. Again this was just basics but for 15 people I found it to be quite reasonable. Weekends were all also free ( Germany, Cech Republic, Hungary, Italy and more were visited) and we had a nice Halloween break which gave a great chance to re-charge the batteries.

There is no doubt that this course is difficult and does require hard work however if you are looking for an introduction to TEFL... I would definitely recommend it.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Hi Emmet,

We would like to thank you for your kind words and we wish you good luck in your teaching career!

Best Regards,
The English Teacher Training College`s Team

Default avatar
Bree
Female
27 years old
Chicago

Like "The Real World" and army boot camp mixed together

3/10

I'll just start this review by saying I left 1 month into this 4 month experience.

This course was very disorganized from the get-go. I was given incorrect or downright false information about where I would be living/teaching, and what these arrangements would be like. This program felt like a constant bait-and-switch, and just seemed to get worse and worse.

Our first week, there were 27 of us living in one "house". I slept in a room with 5 other people in uncomfortable bunk beds in the summertime. It was mosquito infested, and worse, BUG BED infested. The place needed to be fumigated in the middle of our first week. We also did not get any food delivery until the middle of week 2, had no cleaning supplies, and the trashes were overflowing with flies everywhere.

As for the Vorchdorf campus, you will essentially be in the middle of nowhere if you are unlucky enough to get stuck based out of here (which my group did- Unfairly, we only got 2 weeks near Vienna and spent almost the entire remainder of the course in Vorchdorf). The town Gmunden is nearby, but the last train is at 8 pm so forget doing anything on weekend evenings.

As for the teaching, in week 2 you will be teaching for 6 hours per day for a class of usually unruly teenagers with no supervision. There is only one 15 minute break per day. At one point, my students got in a fist fight in my class and I had to scream out the door into the hallway for help, and nobody came.

The grading is extremely harsh. Failing grades are common. Instead of giving the new teacher confidence, we are often torn down. Written assignments are extremely tedious and it is also common to fail or get a D on these assignments. You will be working your butt off and feel like you are constantly on the brink of failure. Some of the course tutors are very nice and helpful, but the overall feel students had on the course was fear that they were not good enough.

The days are long. The commutes were sometimes over 1.5 hours one way to each school. School starts at 7:45 am, sometimes earlier. You will be up EARLY. After teaching 6 straight hours, you will have another 1.5 hour commute, and then have to go to campus for 1-2 hour input sessions.

You will have to walk to campus each day, sometimes with all of your luggage, as the staff refuse to pick us up or drop us off at our accommodation. Why go 2 minutes out of your way when you can make the student teachers suffer? It will be pitch black outside and you will be asked to carry all of your suitcases, teaching materials, and bedding down a long, twisting hill. When I asked the welfare team why we were forced to walk when there were 7 ABCi cars parked in front of the campus, I was ignored. By the way, several of my other emails to welfare were also unanswered. If they do answer, they will do their best to divert the question or deny any wrongdoing or blame.

On our first day, we were lectured about all the different ways we could get kicked off the course and given examples of previous students. You will get at LEAST 1-2 emails per week addressing a "student teacher warning" for things like "someone left the door unlocked", "you had 2 mattresses on your bed", "the garbage wasn't emptied" "you were 1 minute late today". If you get 3 warnings, you get kicked out. There is VERY little appreciation for your hardworking volunteers.

This place is constantly short-staffed but continually expanding, adding more strain to the remaining staff and volunteers. Why keep expanding? One answer: $$$$$$$. Teaching English is supposed to be fun. If you sign up for this, know that there is very very little fun to be had.

Default avatar
Kim
Other

Just say no

2/10

There are many things wrong with this program. One is that at the end of 3.5 months of a 4-month program, many many ST failed their observations. If they had taught us correctly we should have been sailing through the last lessons. There is inconsistent feedback, the accommodations are substandard, ie... a kitchen that is about 8 x 12 is supposed to support 15 ST. How do you cook like that, you simply can't. The "mattresses" are paper thin and are not conducive to a good nights rest, which you will definitely need since door to door is from 5:30 am to 5:30 Pm. You teach all day with no breaks, maybe a 10 min break for lunch. The living conditions are horrid. And the staff are equally horrid, except for some exceptional people. I felt that that no type of constructive criticism is heard. You must call them by their last names, in my opinion, this is very outdated. In response, they said that at Oxford and other universities students call their professors by their last name...WRONG..... AND BTW... this is NOT OXFORD.. this is some little college in Austria that wants to make a big name for themselves. Good luck with that. UNtilL you treat your VOLUNTEERS with respect, this will never happen. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the problems you will have if you decide to go with this program. You are constantly threatened with student warnings if you wear the wrong shoes or use 2 mattresses...and that's just the beginning. If I could just say to you, please please please ...go somewhere else.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Re: course feedback

We are genuinely sorry that you did not enjoy your time with us here in Austria. We take valid feedback very seriously at the college and are quick to implement suggestions.

To address a couple of concerns directly: there were no students on the last course that failed the Cambridge Trinity CertTESOL component of the programme. All Student Teachers eventually gained the qualification, after being given the help and support they needed to pass observed lessons on re-submission. We appreciate the course is challenging, both physically and mentally. That said, there are undoubtedly things on which we can improve and supporting trainees is certainly one of those things. The next course has already been amended in response to feedback from course participants, external course moderators and course tutors and these changes will address many points raised by students. To show our commitment to improving and standardising our students' professional learning and teaching experience a highly-experienced Director of Studies has been brought into the organisation from the British Council in order to immediately improve these processes.

Ultimately from an academic point of view candidates come out with a Trinity CertTESOL certificate and a much higher number of teaching hours (around 250 hours) and observed teaching (30 hours) than your average newly qualified teacher which is very valuable to potential employers.

In terms of accommodation: microwaves & mini-refrigerators have been installed in the dorm rooms and new cooking facilities installed in the communal kitchen. Additionally, hot dinners will now be served for student teachers, free of charge, four nights a week at our Vienna campus. The College had not necessarily heard some of these issues before and will endeavor to implement improvements for future student teachers of all generations and backgrounds (including mature student teachers), and continue to deliver a rewarding TEFL training course, unique in its field in Europe, if not the world.

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James
Male
28 years old
Melbourne

A great, tough experience

8/10

This experience was pretty intense. They get you pretty much straight into Austrian classrooms, with a 'learning by doing' kind of approach. But that's not to say that there isn't a serious academic side to the course. I didn't have any proper teaching experience before this but I became fascinated with the challenge of keeping kids engaged with English while having fun with them. Working with the kids is a big upside to the course, sure sometimes they are difficult but most of the time they really keep you going with unexpected presents and unusual behaviour!

The main struggle is keeping up with the schedule and the coursework, as three months was barely enough time to fit everything in. You can certainly expect some unthinkably long days, where the idea of that TEFL certificate is just about the only thing keeping you going - but looking back I see the amount we learned in that time as gargantuan. Plus you get to be in Austria, always finding new things, people and places.

I could count myself as a 'success story' as I walked straight out of the college into a job in Salzburg - I feel very prepared to teach English in just about any scenario.

How can this program be improved?

By taking into account student feedback, which I know they do. They are always trying to streamline things so that trainees have less travel time and more opportunity for study and leisure.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Hi James,

First of all, a happy New Year to you!

Secondly, thank you very much for your kind words and I really hope you enjoyed your time with us in Austria.

I wish you good luck in your future career as well.

Take care!
Lucian
The English Teacher Training College

Default avatar
Cathy
Female
27 years old
Tullamore
Dublin Institute of Technology

What an experience

7/10

The saying 'Work hard and Play hard' comes to mind here. The CertTESOL intense programme really means what it says on the tin. The first month is truly long hours, barely any sleep. But once this is done, one gets to enjoy the teaching side more and focus on some more creative assignments throughout (for example, creating and singing (badly) a new song that we made up or found somewhere to our fellow colleagues.
My ultimate favourite part was meeting all the fellow people from all over (mostly from England though) and the teachers were all genuinely lovely.

Warning: If you do not enjoy swimming in lakes with views of the Alps mountains, this is not for you!

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps the one month intense programme could be pushed out to 6 weeks rather than 4 weeks.

Response from The English Teacher Training College

Thank you Cathy for the nice words.

The College wishes you good luck in your future career!

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Oliver
Male
24 years old
London

Hard work and intense, but very rewarding.

9/10

I was first introduced to the ABCi program through a friend who had completed the course in the previous rotation of trainee teachers. He had generally good things to say about it, and having always had an interest in teaching I decided to apply. The application process was relatively simple, and the office always replied to my emails swiftly. Having been accepted I was anxious to get started. In the first week trainee teachers observe the senior teachers conduct the standard ABCi project week, and from there the course has a steep learning curve. Trainee teachers begin teaching in their second week of the course, which seems a bit sudden. However, with the support provided by the senior teachers and other trainee teachers you should find yourself picking up the skills needed to teach relatively quickly. In my opinion most people who come to the course ready to put in the work and with some level of determination should be able to pick up the skills needed to complete the course.

The real work begins once trainee teachers start the CertTESOL component of the course. On top of waking up around 4:30-5:30 every day and teaching until the school day finishes (which in is Austria is around 1 o'clock) you'll be asked to complete 2 hours of input sessions in which you learn the core components needed to complete as CertTESOL. This seems like a lot of work, however this is the nature of the course. The staff are sure to warn all applicants that the course if not a holiday, and I can confirm this. Trainee teachers should be ready to put in the work needed to hand in assignments on their deadlines. One of the things that helps a lot is the fact that fellow trainee teachers who are completing the same assignments live together. Therefore they able to support one another if they find some assignments too difficult or confusing.

In summary I found the course to be very rewarding. There are few things that ABCi can do to improve the situation for trainee teachers, but it is important to remember that they are an ever expanding non-for-profit organisation, which of course means there are some issues. Nevertheless, they seem to be striving to make life as easy as possible for trainee teachers. The course is not a walk in the park, but it is very rewarding and is a brilliant first step into the teaching world.

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John
Male
31 years old
Denver, Colorado

A great course at a great price

10/10

This is one of the best valued teacher training courses I have ever heard of or been a part of. In comparison to private language schools that charge between $1,000 and $2,000 for a bare-minimum course length with limited teacher practice and observation opportunities, this course gives you the same certificate and a lot more teaching hours and opportunities. I had at least 30 observation hours with an experienced course tutor while I was on the 3 month course and was given the opportunity to gain hundreds of classroom hours during my time in Austria. In addition, I received continuous feedback, theoretical input sessions to accompany the practical teaching experience and also training in blended learning techniques through the use of the virtual classroom and online instruction. All of this was given to me at a fraction of the cost (100 euro) of a traditional, private language school tuition. This program is truly a jump start meets boot camp for anyone who is interested in teaching English as a foreign language and beginning their career in this field.

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Ben
Male
41 years old
Carlisle

A lot of work, but worth it for an internationally-recognsied teaching qualification.

8/10

The ABCi course in Austria is an incredibly thorough and intensive teacher education course that will put all student teachers through their paces and leave them with excellent practical teaching skills, a wealth of experience on how to handle younger learners and the knowledge necessary to go out and start teaching without the support of a supervising tutor.

There are a number of different ways to attain the Trinity College CertTESOL qualification, either intensively in four weeks or part-time over a longer period. ABCi takes the best of both programmes by offering an intensive programme with a longer duration, meaning that student teachers are able to get a huge amount of practical experience in the classroom over the duration of the course. This is not for the faint-hearted, however. The schedule is full of training, observations, project work and actual class teaching in Austrian schools, schools which often require getting up very early to get to a school for a 09:00 start.

But for everything you put into the course, you get much more out. The more time you research and plan your own development as a teacher, the better you’ll be able to use these ideas in class and then reflect critically on how successfully they were used. There’s also the energy and fun of working with motivated Austrian students as well!

In terms of accommodation, student teachers are billeted in dorm-style accommodation. While, this is simple, it does mean that support and friendship are always close at hand.

The training itself is run by experienced trainers who are strictly vetted, with each CertTESOL trainer having to be approved by Trinity College London. This not only ensures a quality training programme, but also that the trainers have a focus on continuing to develop best practice to support the needs of students and student teachers.

In short, this is a thorough and intense programme. It will train you how to teach and give you an internationally respected and recognised teaching qualification. If you’re looking for a light working holiday, this isn’t for you; but if you’re willing to work hard to learn and share your experiences with others, you’ll find it a most rewarding experience.

How can this program be improved?

Further developments with the accommodation.

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Diana
Female
49 years old
Hereford
De Montfort University

Hard work but it was the most amazing experience!

9/10

I have to wholeheartedly agree with the review left by Anderson, but will just add a few things about my time with ABCi. I volunteered in 2014. We worked hard in those three months, but I also got to experience a lot of Austria that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to see had I not done this volunteer teaching programme. Teaching could be stressful at times but then also such a joy when you had great rapport with the kids and this certainly got easier over time as I got to know the programme better. If we had any questions there was always a senior on hand to assist and advise us. If we thought we were putting in a lot of work they put it far more! Here are some excerpts from my diary from this time:

Written after week 1: My first week has gone well. We have had some early morning starts and long days. I have to get up for 6 am which for me is a bit of a struggle. On Monday I will have my own class of 15 children for the week but I still have a lot to learn before then. I will take the odd break this weekend but I will try and prepare as best as I can. This is the calm before the storm, but I am looking forward to the challenge. Bring it on!

This was written in month three: Whilst in Austria I celebrated my birthday and I went to the Johannes Strauss Ball, spent a lovely day sightseeing at Schonbrunn and went to the Opera House and saw the ballet Sleeping Beauty. In Vienna we had some early starts for teaching – were often up at 5.30 am to get the various trains and buses to the schools on time. In Altmunster (where I lived with a wonderful host family) I get up most days at 5.30 and am now fairly used to it. As long as I go to bed early. Last month I visited Salzburg. I hadn't been there since I was an au pair at the grand old age of 19. It was funny walking back over the bridge again taking in the sights after so many years. I also visited again a couple of weeks ago with six other teachers and showed them around. I also visited the Fortress and we did the Sound of Music tour. Very good! We also went to the Augustinerbrau which is where monks make beer and might have had a tipple:)

These three months have been so full on. I have had some really tough days and then others, like today, where the kids were so wonderful! We just fed off each other’s energy. I was quite sad to leave. We teach for six hours every day and the type of teaching we do is fast pace - certainly never a dull moment :) Life has been hectic over here but I am so glad I came. I have learnt so much and realised I do enjoy teaching.
---
You work hard but there is also time to play. And now I have my TEFL certificate which I may use in the future. It is a wonderful experience, full of hard work and challenges but it will be up to you to make the most of it. With the work you put in you will reep so many rewards!

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Anna
Female
23 years old
Nottingham

My experience volunteering with ABCi

9/10

I volunteered as a TEFL teacher with ABCi in 2014 and it was one of the fondest experiences of my life. The opportunity to travel to so many places within Austria with such a great bunch of people was amazing. Every little town we taught in had something new to offer, and in my own time I was able to travel to a few extra places with money I had saved up to get to know the cities too. The all around travel-experience was so exciting and fun, you get to know the 'real' Austria rather than what you would learn from a holiday/tourist experience. Save up as much money as you can before you go to get the most out of your free time.

But lets talk about the work itself! I had previously taught English in the UK so I was coming with experience, but the ABCi programme is a very different kettle of fish - we didn't use books or photocopies or follow standard lesson plans, the teaching is really based on the teacher leading the class by playing games and managing new group activities every ten minutes or so. The lessons are well paced and planned, and once you've got a hang of the activities you will get into the flow. I loved this style of teaching because it was so much fun, and most often the groups of children we taught really enjoyed the lessons too. It is totally different from a normal school lesson, so I think teachers and students alike find it a breath of fresh air and for some, it may be the first positive educational experience in their life. The teaching felt a bit like acting sometimes, learning the scripts and repeating the same introductions again and again - plus the singing and dancing (be up for looking like a fool). I actually really enjoy being in that situation, but it could be stressful at first if you feel uncomfortable in front of people.

It is tough work, and can be draining, as is all teaching work in my experience. It requires every part of your brain, and your full attention. Be prepared for early starts in the morning - sometimes really early!! Plus you may have some long commutes to the schools every now and then. But don't let that put you off. I had always been the kind of person that couldn't get up before 8. After ABCi, I feel that I have become a tougher person because I know I can get up before 5 and still manage a days work (though I was glad to get my lie ins at the end!)

And lastly, the TESOL course. If you want to teach English, there is a lot to learn. Teaching methodology, lesson planning, classroom management, English grammar, phonology, etc. I really enjoy studying languages, so studying English in depth was fascinating for me. Be prepared to study hard to get the qualification. It is a very much intense 4 weeks. However, the best way to learn how to teach is by doing it, and after teaching every day for four months you will have learnt so many tricks and tips that you will be ready for wherever you want to teach next!

Overall the course with ABCi is really good value and an invaluable life experience too. You will make friends for life and fall in love with the place. I highly recommend.

Anderson
Male
24 years old

A valuable experience, but not for the faint of heart.

9/10

About ABCi:

ABCi is a non profit organization with the goal of bringing English Language Immersion "Project Days" to every school in Austria. These project days are free to students who participate, and are taught by trainee teachers, who are not paid but are instead receiving training and experience along with a Trinity CertTESOL Certificate (equivalent to a CELTA).

The way these Project Days are funded is through Project Weeks. These project weeks cost 100 Euros per student and are taught by trainee teachers over the course of one week. Students spend one week of only English language instruction, and week culminates in an end of the week performance with songs and "dramas" invented by the students. This is the meat and potatoes of what ABCi does.

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Arrival:

The ABCi campus is located in Vorchdorf, Austria. Vorchdorf is a small but fairly nice town located in Upper Austria. The nearest city of significant size is the tourist lake town Gmunden. Most trainees arrived in Vienna or Salzburg and made their way to Vorchdorf via train using Austria's easy to use ÖBB system. There are 2 small hotels and the majority of us spent 1 or 2 nights there, before making our way to the campus for the morning of our introduction.

The first morning was unsurprisingly quite hectic, everyone introduced themselves and went through the introductions. Director of studies Ben Stone addressed us and gave us an overview of what to expect over the coming months. We then spent the majority of our day at the Red Cross of Austria learning the basics of First Aid.

After our First Aid seminar, we were split into groups and taken to our "posts" across Austria. One team in Vienna, one in Graz, and one in St. Polten. For upcoming intakes however, these will likely be different as ABCi is going through some changes regarding this system.

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Accommodation:

During my time with ABCi my experience with accommodation ranged from excellent to horrible. My group's first accommodation was a wonderful house in Graz. We each had our own bedroom and a double bed, a nice living room and kitchen with all the amenities one could reasonably expect. Our first month was quite stressful - 10 to 12 hour days each day - and having a nice place to come home to kept us sane.

After our first one month "rotation," my group (Graz) as well as the other groups (St. Polten and Vienna) were transferred to one "large" flat in Vorchdorf. For many of us including myself, accommodation became the biggest thorn in our side during our time in Austria. We were asked before the course if sharing a bedroom was okay, although none of us expected to be living in a barracks-like environment. The accommodation supposedly fits 30 people, and at our peak we had 21 which was, to be frank, hellish. 21 people in one flat in the middle of summer, all of whom work 10 to 12 hours every day, sharing 2 toilets and 2 showers was truly the low point of our experience. In fact we all had some questions about whether the situation was even legal. My room had 4 bunk beds (3 filled) and no closet. 100% of the space was filled with our belongings and was brimming with mosquitoes. Every room in the house was boiling all night long and even though we all got along, a complete lack of privacy can begin to wear people down, especially people who work extremely hard all day long.

To ABCi's credit, after a meeting was called to discuss the situation in the house, steps were taken to improve the situation. An air conditioner was purchased, mosquito nets installed in the windows, fire extinguishers positioned throughout the house (yeah, we had none), and the flat downstairs was opened up to allow us to spread out more. The situation definitely improved for the second half of our stay in Vorchdorf.

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The Day to Day:

The average day for an ABCi Trainee is a long one. You will regularly be expected to put in as much as 12 hours per day, including drive time, and you WILL be exhausted at the end of the day. You will adjust to the schedule and it will seem normal after some weeks, but it is truly a shock to the system.

An average day looks something like this:

START
0500: Wake up
0600-0730: Collected by your Senior Tutor and driven to school
0730-1330: TEACH
1330-1500: Drive back to campus
1500-1730: Seminars - English Grammar, Teaching theory, etc
1730-???: Lesson plan, work on assignments, homework, etc
END

But hey, at least you have weekends off.

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The Certification(s):

The course that I took was the Beginner Course. Don't let the name fool you. It's not a cakewalk. The Beginner course consists of 2 certifications. The Trinity CertTESOL, and the TEFL-YL. You will start by only using the standard ABCi lessons, but after attending seminars every day you will eventually begin to create your own lessons and implement them yourself. You will be graded on these lessons, given feedback on your teaching style, and expected to take that information and improve your teaching ability.

The classroom side of this program is truly excellent. It's well thought out and implemented intelligently. You will learn how to teach. Period.

BY THE END OF THE COURSE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TEACH ENGLISH WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED AND YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK. If you take this course and you still aren't a good teacher, teaching just isn't for you.

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The staff:

At any given point during the course, you and your team will be assigned a Senior Tutor. There are several Senior Tutors and they will be rotated amongst your groups. All of them are excellent. They each have a different style and different perspective and all of their input is valuable. If you take their advice and follow their lead, you will do well, simple as that. The Senior Tutors are the best part of this course and their value cannot be overstated.

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Other notes:

I highly recommend purchasing an ÖBB Vorteilscard as soon as you arrive in Austria. Use it to travel on the weekends and see Austria! It's a beautiful country with a lot to offer.

Time off is very hard to come by. Don't count on it.

It is likely that you get shuffled around a lot during the course. People do fail and holes do need to be filled as a result of that. Your group may be split up or you may be reassigned to a different city. Don't get too comfy.

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Overall:

Let me make this clear. This is NOT for everyone. If you don't have the energy to do this every single day, you will not make it. If you can't manage your time in an effective way, you will not make it. If you can't balance the academic side of the course with the practical side, you will not make it. If you are not up to the standards of this course YOU WILL BE SENT HOME. You will be dropped off at a train station, and you will be on your own.

I know this sounds scary, but don't let it deter you. Living with your teammates means you have a support system around you at all times. You will learn to work together and to help each other. You will commiserate together after horrible days and you will celebrate together after good ones. This experience is transformative one. You will leave with new relationships formed and a new perspective as well.

You will be well trained and have TONS of experience. You can leave Austria and go teach English ANYWHERE. As a result of this course I now have friends all over the world. In my group alone, you can find us in France, Italy, Cambodia, Japan, Spain, Latvia, South Korea, Morocco, and more.

ABCi is not always easy to deal with and this course is NOT a vacation, but it will open doors for you in ways you didn't even realize were possible.

How can this program be improved?

Better accommodation

Default avatar
Kay
Female
32 years old
Grünau im Almtal, Austria
University of Leeds

Very well structured and useful content. Come prepared to work!

9/10

I find the mark of a good course is usually that it makes you realise how much you don't already know. If you are sitting there and everything is old news, then it's probably a waste of your time. That is not the case with this course. For someone new to EFL there is a lot to learn. And this course exposes you to wide areas quickly and intensively. Luckily, the tutors are adept at both explaining and demonstrating the concepts and everything is explained in a way that made it easy to get your head around.

The College packs a tonne of content and practical training into the course. By the end of it all, you'll probably be surprised by how much you've managed to pick up in just 16 weeks. You're launched straight into the course on the first day with First Aid training and the first session of the Unknown Foreign Language Unit. The tutor for the UFL walks into the classroom and instantly starts running off a spiel in a foreign language (they don't even tell you beforehand what the language will be!). It starts off quite confusing but this is actually a good thing because it gives you a lot of insight into how the students in the schools will feel when you walk into their classroom and start speaking English at them. It reminds you how important other forms of communication are like body language. As the lesson continues, things should become clearer. The teacher plays games that will be used in the classroom during practical hours (this part is really fun!). It definitely starts things off on a high and sets the tone for the rest of the course, i.e. it's gonna require lots of energy, enthusiasm and concentration, but students feel like they've learned something by the end of it all.

There are more sessions for the UFL several weeks later. In the meantime, you will have already learned a lot about the course and the teaching programme, so at this point you get to do the activities ourselves that are being taught in schools from the student's point of view. This helps you to see what works and what doesn't, and it will definitely give you some ideas of how step your game up in the classroom, just like with the feedback from the senior teacher observations. Since you are treated as 'young learners' for the purposes of the UFL, i.e. have no prior knowledge of the language, the teacher uses flashcards, body language, singing, etc. and even though she never speaks a word of English for the entire course. Even though you only use the target language, first time students seem to understand all of what is being said because of the teaching techniques and methodologies employed.

The College tutors are all themselves really good teachers in a practical sense (I really appreciate that after dealing with some pretty clueless lecturers at uni in England) so I feel like this is a huge bonus alone that you get the opportunity to tap into all that knowledge and experience.

The English College really puts you through your paces. Don't expect to come to Austria and just enjoy a holiday... although I definitely recommend exploring the place a bit on weekends. Expect to work hard. But the more you put in, the more you'll get out of it. I definitely recommend this course. You're not just absorbing information, you're also developing skills for the classroom. Places fill up fast so sign up early!

How can this program be improved?

Some of the classrooms are a little cramped, particularly at the beginning of the course before the smaller groups are divided up. This doesn't pose too much of a problem. It's just a little uncomfortable when the students need to get up and be active. Don't be shy about asking to open a window during these sessions. As I write this, the College has just opened a larger location just outside of Vienna, so I assume this situation will rectify itself pretty soon.

Lee
Male
29 years old
Cannock

If you want a CertTESOL, there's probably not a better place to do it!

8/10

Hello potential ABCi-er. Below is just a few thoughts on my experience here. I'll start with some positves but then draft in some negatives too at the end. Just as an introduction, I completed the beginner course having never taught before in my life. It was a summer course (this is very important given how the seasons change quite drastically in this part of the world). With the completion of this course and the gaining of my CertTESOL, I have been appointed to work at a language school in Spain (my desired location!). So was hard but well worth it...!

I had never taught much before, and I have found that I love it! Absolutely love it! And it had a lot to do with the wonderful course tutors who you will be travelling to the various schools with. So we do project days and project weeks. There are advantages to both these styles of teaching. The project days you have two classes only for three hours each and you never see them again. This is great for learning how to build rapport and change and adapt activities. These classes can have up to 28 students from ages 10 - 16.

Project weeks I prefer, because you are with the students for a whole week, you get to really build a relationship, learn their traits etc. You do a whole week using the ABCi program and then a big performance. Okay you'll learn about all this, but it's amazing. I've never quite had that feeling with any other work I've done.

The experience you'll get is like no other place. When I'm applying for jobs now people are just so impressed by how much I've learnt in this time and how well the course prepares us as teachers. The course tutors have so much experience and are able to really guide. Lots of conversations in the long car journeys about grammar and teaching...

There are so many observations so you will have all that experience and you learn from everyone you watch. And you get filmed and can watch yourself and send this to employers etc.

I guess the best thing though has to be the people. I'm actually away at the moment teaching in the south and was so upset to have to leave the others for even a short while. I've made such good friends from all over the world, people of all different ages and from different places. On the weekends, we've been able to travel around Austria, and although I'm not a fan of the cities so much (except Graz), the rest of the country and countryside is stunning.... I mean I just sit in the car and stare at the snowy mountains and rivers. Austrians are so friendly, the food is great, there's plenty of good places to visit.

Okay, for balance, some negatives! - If you are not happy about getting up at 5 o'clock for 2 weeks in a row then you might find it tough. But then I thought I would never get used to it and I have. You will always likely be sharing rooms with people for all the four months, which has been tough for such a long time if I'm honest. I'm a little older than most of the volunteer trainees so a little past the whole sharing thing - Also, the course is incredibly difficult. Sometimes, especially during the CertTESOL component, we were working 14-15 hour days perhaps.

This was testing for everyone and the atmosphere and mood can be really low during these times. Also, ABCi have one accommodation where up to 20 people live together in this big flat. It's fun up to a point but then so hard to keep clean, but if you are with cool people then it's so nice having so many people around. Communication at times has been a little poor but for a fairly new organisation I can see that changes are being made to curb this problem.

Okay that's enough! To summarize: It's tough but one of the best things I've done. It's set me up for a new career. The course asks a lot but everything you did will be rewarding. If you're bored of sitting at a desk in an office, if you want to gain confidence in all kinds of ways, if you want to meet dozens of great individuals... DO THIS COURSE!

Default avatar
Danny
Male
21 years old
Manchester, England
Other

Life changer!

10/10

ABCi changed my life.
I arrived in Austria on the 29th of August at the ripe old age of 18 thinking I knew everything about the world.
Quickly, I became accustom to the ABCi way of life including getting up at 5:30 in the morning, living with others, teaching in schools that open ridiculously early, all day, before resting for a hour and completing essays until late at night.
BUT I WOULD'NT HAVE HAD IT ANY OTHER WAY?
I got to live in 4 beautiful towns/cities while gaining quality experience in what I now know is my my chosen vocation. I was supported fully through the course, given feedback on lessons and even extra support for the grammar test (which is tough if you have no background in linguistics). The company provided free travel to and from schools, free accommodation and food basics which many other companies do not provide. I met life long friends during my short stay, joined a rugby team and grew in confidence. Although, most importantly it gave me the experience and ability to teach in a fun engaging way allowing me to pursue a life as a teacher where without ABCi this would not be possible. For example, I am now a teaching assistant in Manchester using very similar skills to what I learned in Austria. I would recommend this course to anyone. Don't think it will be easy but it will change your life because it changed mine.

Default avatar
Ian
Male
28 years old
Portsmouth
Other

English teaching in the Alps

9/10

I completed a four month placement back in July and enjoyed it enough that I stayed on – the chance to live and travel around Austria whilst bringing English to school children, by basically playing games with them, was too much to pass up. Teaching was about more than just games though- it is a tailored active learning approach that makes the learning both fun and useful, as learning a language should be. Seeing the change in a class from Monday morning to Friday when you leave makes for a really special experience
Life as a trainee with can be pretty intense – Austrian schools start between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning and with travel time to a different school each week added on I had to quickly adapt to some early starts. With feedback sessions and training in the afternoons this makes for a long day and you definitely have to be prepared to work hard but the senior teachers are always there to help you with advice and training. They are a small but growing not for profit organisation so there were times I had to be adaptable and use my own initiative to get by but that just adds to the life experience I gained. Accommodation and travel was all provided for as well which meant I saw and did so much more than I would have been able to travelling alone or paying for things out of my own pocket. Staying in the centre of Vienna for a month, including during Eurovision, was definitely a highlight.

Default avatar
Robbie
Male
39 years old
Bouncing round Germany
University of Leeds

Real life teacher training

10/10

I spent 3 months in Austria working with this organisation. During my time I had a mix of intensive study and seminars, lesson planning support and 100s of hours in the ESL classroom developing and defining my delivery. As an experienced teacher in another field I was taught to alter my approach and understand the needs of my students. I found out I had a lot to learn.

I received a lot of support from experienced staff and working as part of a team with other trainees helped share good practice daily. This is a really good course and offers a different learning experience to that of the CELTA I was initially planning to undertake.

On top of all of this is the fact that I spent 3 months working across Austria in some beautiful places. Even spent a month in Vienna. Pretty cool.

I would recommend this course to anyone serious about gaining their TEFL teaching qualification by actually teaching for real along the way.

Default avatar
Lauen
Male
23 years old
Berlin, Germany
Other

My time with ABCi

10/10

I participated in the ABCi program from January to March 2015. It was an amazing opportunity in many ways. Primarily it allowed me to gain the certification and training needed to be confident in my teaching abilities. Having never taught before this program, I was placed in the CertTesol course. This helped me gain a firm understanding of the fundamentals of teaching and how to create materials, lesson plans, and assess a student's strengths and needs. At the same time, the hands on approach to teaching enabled me to utilize all that I had learned in a real classroom environment. The hours of teaching experience went a long way to make me a more confident teacher as well as better equipped to control many situations that arose in the classroom. Aside from the educational benefits, the program is run in an incredible country, one which I was able to explore throughout my travel to the various schools. This allowed me to see more of Austria then I ever would have on my own. The program takes care of all travel, accommodation and food plus provides the trainees with First Aid training, TEFL-YL certification and a CertTesol certification (depending). Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time with ABCi, it was a life-changing experience and opened my eyes to the opportunities available.

How can this program be improved?

More training or clarification on how to deal with problem areas such as disciplining or dealing with a difficult class

Default avatar
Michael
Male
25 years old
Gmunden, Austria
University of Sheffield

I went from total beginner to confident teacher in just 3 months

9/10

Before arriving in Austria, I hadn't stepped foot in a classroom since I left school. I had worked with children at a summer camp in America, but never in formal schooling, so I was predictably apprehensive. Owing to ABCi's innovative teaching methods, however, my experience in alternative education proved just the background I needed to succeed at leading a class in active learning.

What particularly impressed me about the course is how it prepares you for EFL employment that doesn't follow active learning principles. Despite ABCi's work focusing on game-based learning, song and drama, trainees leave with a thorough understanding of classroom management and in-depth language awareness. The hundreds of hours spent honing these skills in real classroom settings has made me feel like a far more experienced teacher than my CV would suggest.

EFL teachers with experience teaching young learners are in high demand and short supply. ABCi's input sessions and assignments focus specifically on this learner type. I've found that employers are consistently impressed by the willingness and ability with which graduates of the programme are able to work with this age group.

Fun, rewarding and challenging, I recommend this course to anyone who is dedicated to becoming a resourceful English teacher.

About The Provider

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The English Teacher Training College and its associated Austrian Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi) is a not-for-profit Austrian college with a dual mission: Firstly, as a college, to provide a world-leading practical education in English teacher training for Student Teachers from the English-speaking world based solely

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